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DiBona: Google will hire two Android coders to work with kernel.org

Google open source chief Chris DiBona was more than ready to take a little heat at the Linux Collaboration Summit yesterday.Speaking before hundreds at the Linux conference in San Francisco, the good natured programmer acknowledged that Google needs to do a "better job" of contributing Android patches back to the Linux kernel and noted that the company has two job requisitions out now to find candidates for the job.
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Written by Paula Rooney on

Google open source chief Chris DiBona was more than ready to take a little heat at the Linux Collaboration Summit yesterday.

Speaking before hundreds at the Linux conference in San Francisco, the good natured programmer acknowledged that Google needs to do a "better job" of contributing Android patches back to the Linux kernel and noted that the company has two job requisitions out now to find candidates for the job.

The Linux kernel community decided earlier this year to remove the Andoid code from the kernel because they were allegedly not getting enough patches and cooperation from Google.

DiBona said there were some developers at Google working on it who "feel burned" by the decision but he acknowledged that the "staffing, attitute and culture" at Google isn't sufficient to support the kernel crew.

"We don't have enough people working on it ... we're open to that and we're not doing a great job," DiBona said, noting, however, that Google is shipping millions of cell phones every day and the development teams are under lots of pressure on commercial products.

He also dismissed fears about forking and fragmentation, noting that smart phone operating system code is not all appropriate for the operating system kernel.

"It is hard to take these very interlaced patchworks and pull out the parts that are acceptable for the mainline kernel. there are some things we do in the kernel for Android for battery life that we'd never do for the kernel."

DiBona, who brought along some forking t-shirts to hand out, dismissed the idea put out by one attendee that the choice of the Apache license for Android drives fragmentation because the derivative code does not have to be contributed back.

Differentiation is good and enables commercial vendors to succeed, he said. Besides, most developers stick to the Android APIs and that will ensure compatibility. He cited one firm that adopted Android framework but does not adhere to the Android APIs as a case in point of fragmentation -- but again, he did not view that as a negative.

"Fragmentation is one of those things... people worry about fragmentation more when they're losing than when they are winning," he said.

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